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STEM Education Can Be Fun and Games

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Date posted: August 1, 2012

This week seems to be all about STEM (science, technology, engineering, & mathematics) education.

CoasterCrafterFirst I joined other members of the STEM Education Coalition in meetings with administration officials about budget issues and proposals for a STEM Master Teacher Corps.

Later I was one of several invited guests observing sessions of the Discovery Education Siemens STEM Institute. Fifty fabulous Institute Fellows, STEM teachers from around the country were creating projects, learning about cool new resources, and participating in lively workshops.

Both episodes point to the critical importance of building a strong cadre of great STEM teachers. Both are examples of ways to engage, reward, and inspire these wonderful teacher leaders.

But that’s only half the challenge. We also have to engage kids in STEM subjects; get them excited about science and math; show how technology and engineering affect their daily lives. Today’s kids will be the scientists and engineers that invent the products that will power tomorrow’s economy . . . if we can capture their interest.

That’s why Cable in the Classroom created Coaster Crafter. Build. Ride. Scream!, a free, online game in which players learn about science concepts while designing, building and testing roller coasters in a virtual amusement park. It’s targeted at middle school and older students, especially girls.

Research shows games can be powerful learning tools, and what kid doesn’t love roller coasters? By combining the speed of broadband, interactivity, science content tied to state standards, and the thrill of coasters, games like Coaster Crafter can get kids excited about learning.

That matters a lot because, by the time students reach fourth grade, a third of boys and girls have lost interest in science. By eighth grade, almost 50 percent have lost interest or deemed it irrelevant to their education or future plans.

Fabulous things can happen when you combine the power of broadband with great content and curious kids. Find out how, and see if you’re smarter than an eighth grader at www.ciconline.org/CoasterCrafter or join us August 28th in a free webinar about educational games.

Coaster Crafter is just one of the cable industry’s STEM education initiatives. Search for STEM on our website for information about Disney’s Planet Challenge, Time Warner’s Connect A Million Minds, and more.

  • http://www.jocuri.si/ Jocuri

    Coaster Crafter is the best !! really the best !! Love it.
    I have to thank you for taking your time writing this article. Very very interesting.